If There’s A Smile On My Face, It’s Only There Trying To Fool The Public

Cook celebrates his ton at the WACA

There was a time, I used to look into my father’s eyes. And he said “stop being a weirdo”. But what my dad brought me up to be was sceptical. He and mum always taught my brother and I to have a questioning mind. To not accept what you were told. To treat nonsense as nonsense. Be polite, but be questioning. Guess that’s why I never got up to the top table. But there’s a point here – we both know when we are being sold pups. We aren’t unique.

There were also times in the last year where I thought we were running out of material. That the fire had been doused and that this became more of a job, a chore, than a pursuit of entertainment or a “hobby”. The ECB, T20 drivel aside, seemed to have righted the ship and given us less ammo. And then Bristol happened. It’s been revealing.

This has been a pathetic couple of months for the ECB. God only knows what must be going through their minds, as the agenda set by Ben Stokes’s alleged indiscretions has had more of an effect than any of us could imagine. Watching this played out over the media, both ancient and social, has been an exercise in watching the blind lead the blind. Danny captured it really well in his piece yesterday, but I need to vent.

In that classical Christmas movie, Die Hard, there’s the scene where the terrorists need the power to be cut so they can disarm the final lock on the vault. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) knows the score. He knows a certain organisation will play by a certain code. No worries. Along comes the bloke out of Trading Places, to run the playbook. Gruber smiles. For he knows. He utters “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the FBI”. And they cock it up letting the terrorists into the vault. The Australian cricket team and media are Hans Gruber. Our media corps and the ECB are the FBI. Beat that Martin Samuel!

But if the media corps, who know a decent storyline when they see one, and know clickbait as well, are playing along for money and you know what, the ECB have, yet again, been shown to be a load of fools. The disciplinary code must be something to behold. On a day when the two Manchester teams show what proper aggro is about, and no doubt local law authorities, the governing bodies etc. will turn a blind eye to that, England cricket has got its beans going over what appears to be a joke at a drinking session. We can moralise all we like about it, but these things happen, and at the end of the day if you take the incident on its merits, well. I doubt many rugby clubs would be functioning. Hardly sneaking off to the VIP room to snort Charlie, or sexually assaulting women. It’s bad behaviour and that’s the sort of thing that really gets the moral majority on their high horse.

This is coupled with the “environment” we face ourselves with. This bogus bollocks drives me to distraction. Basically, you can act like the biggest tit if you are winning, but if you are losing, god help you. You are fair game for anything you do off the field. And by that, I mean anything. We’ve not seen the last of this yet. Want to recall the last time this paradox took place over the space of 12 months – 1985/6 in West Indies, 1986/7 in England. If we lose, report the booze. If we win, allow the spin. We have an environment where every single thing that is a little off kilter while people are out and about is going to be reported. The press say that they should be extra careful then. Why? To stop offending the moral majority? Anyone reporting on what the press boys and girls are getting up to? I’m interested.

The ECB, and here I am looking at two individuals in particular, Andrew Strauss as the man in charge of the overall squad and Chris Haynes, the press officer, are a laughing stock. Chris who? Well, we should know a bit more about him because I’m sure “how would the press react” has gone through the minds of the ECB more than once, and he’s the press officer. Let’s be clear, they were dealt an appalling hand with the Stokes affair. They were faced with little choice but to await the outcome of the police report and CPS decision. The curious thing is naming him in the ODI squad, when the process is not complete. There’s nothing stopping them naming him later if he’s cleared, but now we have, named in a squad, a player who could be doing jail time if charged and convicted. How can you then throw the book at Duckett for a minor infraction? More importantly, throw him to the wolves of the media while clearly doing as much as they can to protect Stokes. The double standard here is gobsmacking. Protect Stokes? How about the casino incident in Manchester last year?

The ECB were also keen to let us know that Duckett had been punished, but has anyone else had a warning added to their resume? Is Anderson anywhere near close to being in trouble? Will McPherson’s article seems to indicate that it was horseplay, many were involved, and there was no trouble. The ECB spin harder than Warne, so I don’t have a clue if this is correct or not. But what we’ve seen with Duckett is summary justice and punishment, a fringe player seen as expendable out to dry, an ability for the cluck-cluckers on Twitter to get on their high horse – warning, the moral high ground is surrounded by the slipperiest of slopes – and the press to intimate that only if they practiced and played liked they drunk, they’d be better off. It all has the hue of the 1985/6 tour of the West Indies when the media went to town on a team getting massacred. At least we’ve had no broken beds yet. That we know of.

George Dobell appears to get it in his cricinfo piece. But only so far. Jonathan Liew nailed it in his tweet. By hyping it up, the ECB did the Aussie’s bidding. By getting all pious about it, the media got clicks, but did the Aussie’s bidding. It is said that when we tour Australia, our players should be prepared for their media and the pressure with it. They should also be prepared for a craven authority and a media that swings with the wind. Yes, they should behave themselves. But so should most people. What a Jakki Brambles*

Memories of Perth

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Those Pylons – Solid Old Stuff…

Two pieces in one as we have just two days of posts prior to the next test. I’ve been to Perth just the once, for the 2006 test. England had just lost at Adelaide and we spent the week in between that test match in Augusta, Margaret River, Fremantle and then Perth. We had tickets for the first four days, and while we had little faith in the team, we did hope they might put up a fight. In many ways they did, but it was not enough. So, some Perth memories, in the style of the previous tests, for you to do with what you will:

  • The week before Perth saw us taste wine, go fishing, go down a cave, drink a bit, be subject to the awful non-cable TV, be put up in a Fremantle apartment that redefined small, went deep sea fishing (that was dull) before finally pitching up in our apartment for the test match.
  • I’d had my wallet nicked in Adelaide and a good friend of mine was flying over for the Perth Test. He brought me my new card, which I (a) used before it was authorised and (b) promptly left it behind in the Subiaco Hotel, which I realised, in my horror, at Subiaco Station. Thankfully the staff / punters were honest and had kept the wallet back, and the money. I gave them a few dollars for being so nice, while Jim, my mate from the UK, shook his head in despair. Fair to say at this point I was a bit of a wreck with my possessions.
  • We paid a visit to the ground the day before, and to our surprise we were let in to wander around. It’s not the most auspicious of surroundings. Perth is very, very bright. The sun is incredibly strong, piercing in the extreme. The ground then looked down on its luck. Reg and I were there to find out if our cameras were OK for use. No-one cared.
  • Little Creatures was as good as advertised.
  • Day 1 and the walk to the ground. We weren’t far from the WACA itself and we had to cross a massive car park to get to our entrance. Our seats were in the temporary stand, and quite high up. Fine leg to the square.
  • Panesar was picked. There was much rejoicing. Even more so when Langer fell in his first over. Even more so when he got five wickets on the first day.
  • I do remember screaming “bring on your England player” when Symonds came out to bat. I might have been lightly refreshed at that point.
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Mr Cricket. A Thorn In Our Side
  • Day 2 was one of those crushing disappointment days. A lot further forward, to the lower part of the stand we were in the day before (and where we would sit the next two days), it was just tedious to watch England blow their chance. KP made 70, and again looked head and shoulders above the rest of his team mates, but he was out with us nearly 70 adrift and only a last wicket partnership got us over 200.
  • The best cricketing photo of my life. First ball of the Aussie 2nd A fluke.
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Perfect Timing
  • As the day’s heat closed in, England subsided. Australia added another 119 that night. We went home on that Friday hugely cheesed off. A couple of us headed down to Fremantle to top up our light refreshment.
  • Some of us never made Saturday morning. We went Christmas shopping instead. Didn’t fancy watching the screw being turned. England opened the day with KP bowling, and Mark Taylor telling us this was a great idea. The moron.
  • When we did finally show, I realised I’d left the lip cream at home. This was not a good thing to do.
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IAN!!!!!!
  • 2 hours of baking heat and frazzled brains, and we decided that we couldn’t bear the 42 degree furnace any longer. As we left, I turned around to Sir Peter and said “this is the sort of situation where Adam Gilchrist could go off….”
  • The swimming pool was cool, the heat was unbearable. As Gilchrist destroyed us, I cooled off. I still believe I made the right choice.
  • We saw the end of his innings, cheering Hoggard to bowl as wide as possible. What a luxury Gilchrist was down the order.
  • Lee got Strauss. Reg went mad. New ball, Lee, bounce, and the umpire never thought that it might be going over?
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Can We Have Our Money Back?
  • Went to the Brass Monkey that night. Really good place. Nice beer glasses. Arsenal were playing Portsmouth on the TV in a dingy looking room. 2-2 I think.
  • Day 4 was Sunday. We turned up on time, but the sun had clearly got to our heads. I spent most of the day wearing “reindeer’s ears” and a theatrical mask. Much to Brett Lee’s consternation when he fielded in front of us.
  • There was a man with a shirt. It had the words “ooompah Langer dippety doo – you’re so short I can’t see you; ooompah Langer dippety dee – your black belt karate doesn’t scare me. He wanted Langer to sign it. Justin has a notoriously super sense of humour when it comes to England supporters. I call that a challenge.
  • Ian Bell batted beautifully. Taming Warne, easily playing the quicks. Got into the 80s and got out. Ian, Ian, IAN.
  • Reindeer’s ears, otherwise known as antlers, isn’t my creation. As the bloke on the phone behind me said when trying to give his mate directions “I’m sitting behind the pommie with reindeer’s ears on”.
  • Alastair Cook was stodgy and determined, but made a hundred having been on 99 for ages. You had to admire his guts. He was being tested to the hilt but he didn’t pack it in.

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  • As Cook passed 100 and KP was starting to flow, the announcement came out that tickets for Day 5 would be on sale behind the stand. Reg scuttled down to the office, whereupon Cook fell and so did Hoggard. There was no chance to return them.
  • When Cook departed Lee was down at fine leg. As Hoggard came in to bat he turns to the England fans and says “Where’s your captain? Is he hiding? Is he scared?”. When Hoggard was out there was little we could say.
  • Don’t remember Sunday evening. I think we were packing our gear up for a quick departure on Monday morning for our last night’s accommodation in Scarborough. (Got this wrong – we moved there on Sunday morning, hence a ridiculous picture at Cottesloe)
  • We dropped our stuff off at the big hotel in Scarborough. We headed down for the scene of a wonderful 200 partnership between Freddie and KP, a great 50 or so by Jones, a robust tail and an historic win. Even met James with confidence high. Who am I kidding?
  • Geraint Jones hadn’t scored a test duck up until this test. Got a pair. Never played for England again.
  • I genuinely forgot Saj Mahmood played in this match.
  • Flintoff hit lustily, made 50 got out. Everything else went pear shaped. At lunch we were nine down. We weren’t sticking around. When the Ashes were clinched after lunch, we were in a bar on the other side of the park. Again, a correct choice.
  • Said our goodbyes to Jim, headed back to the hotel, with our flight at around 1:30 in the morning. Sunset pics taken. Time seemed to go so slowly, and then the cab came to take us away. On a trip where the question “where’s my passport?” or “where’s my wallet” had got on my travelling colleagues nerves, there was still time to drop my set of spare specs in the taxi, and lose them forever. Time to go home.

 

Anyone else with memories of Perth, share them here. We’ve a surprise coming your way soon that we hope you will love, and we hope to do the next test justice. I’m off to pour a cup of Lambrini over my head and phone Martin Samuel. The Blogging Culture and Alcohol…

 

  • A Shambles. Coined by one of our team on an OJCC cricket tour. Origin unknown.
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32 thoughts on “If There’s A Smile On My Face, It’s Only There Trying To Fool The Public

  1. pktroll (@pktroll) December 11, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    I have two memories of Perth, one where was on a working holiday in 98/99 and doesn’t involve watching the cricket but I was also there in 2010/11 when I specifically went to Adelaide and Perth while I had a mini world tour. In 98/99 I had been to the Ashes tests at Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney so I guess there was a symmetry that I did the other two main Australian test grounds.

    Perhaps I can discuss the two days of the Adelaide test I did go to another time but for here I’ll discuss the Perth game. Following the highs of Adelaide I headed on down to Melbourne to catch up with friends. Firstly a former work colleague, who for family reasons moved back to her native city after circa a dozen years in the UK and a cricket club colleague of a few years standing who had also returned home. Luckily the ex colleague had a spare matress in a spare room, which was real touch as the whole tour, with the Aussie dollar at an all time high meant my funds were starting to become a little bit scarce for the tour. Anyway after a few enjoyable days I flew west to Perth and I would catch up with another ex cricketing colleague, who in this case was originally from Wales and moved out to his missus home country. It was a good thing too as he had spare tickets for the WACA as at this point, tickets were like gold dust for us visitors. He still visits us a couple of times a year and was at our club dinner a few weeks ago. I also caught up with the Melbourne fellas in the early part of this year as the when he was in London on business.

    This time I had digs in the Perth suburb of Northbridge, nothing too fancy. However I hooked up with my club colleague and ended up having a good time. I also caught up with a family friend who, in his semi-retirement spends time with his sister who moved out there. On to the WACA. I can only concur with you D, about the piercing sunlight. On the first day of the test, I was wearing shorts, and although I’m quite dark my legs got utterly fried. For the last few days of that game I was probably the only sad b*stard wearing jeans for the test. That Aussie sun is truly lethal!

    Although there had been a natural optimism about the England side going into the game, there was the apprehension then, even against an Aussie side in a bit of disarray that England wouldn’t deal too well with the bouncy WACA. There was a promising start with big Chris Tremlett making his comeback and easily disposing of Phil Hughes and indeed it almost seemed to easy as the Aussie top and middle order were blown away by the English seam quartet as the pitch, flooded before the game to ensure it didn’t break up after two days kept enough juice in it to keep the seam attack more than interested. It didn’t seem a big deal at the time that the bits and pieces leg-break bowler that they picked at number 7, a certain S Smith departed early when caught by captain Strauss off the impressive Tremlett. However, this was almost as good as it got as the redoubtable Mr Cricket (MIke Hussey) dug in and then counter attacked ably supported by that other nemisis (of 3 years later) Brad Haddin. When Hussey departed, Mitch Johnson, who had cut a forlorn figure at the start of the series, then came in on his new home ground (having then recently moved from Queensland) and started to play some enterprising shots and grabbed himself a quick ffity. It was this knock that probably did for Steven Finn in the series, after such an overall promising start for a young bowler. It also got Mitch in the right frame of mind for his stint with the ball. The nigh on 200 that the last 5 Aussie wickets accrued that would prove crucial.

    Even so, England batted well for the last dozen overs or so and they were well placed overnight. However a refreshed Aussie bowling attack and especially MItch enjoyed the Freemantle Doctor coming into force the next day. For those of you not aware, this is a wind from the South West, coming over the Swan river and apparently is the bowler’s friend as it enables swing for those who are capable of generating it. On this occasion, Mitch with a higher arm action than he generally was able to manage started to get the ball to tail in to the right hander/away from the left and very soon England descended from 78 for no loss to 187 all out. Mitch would grab 6 wickets and the rest of the game was frankly an anti-climax.. I guess in terms of the damage he would inflict 3 years later, the 86/88mph he typically seemed to bowl that day would seem insignificant. Ryan Harris scarcely bowled inferior to Mitch in that game and he helped polish England off in the 2nd dig.

    A side issue is that as you do on tours, you can often meet people you’ve met in other parts of the world. I caught up with some other lads who I had met in India a couple of winters before as well as guys I had even got to know when out in Australia travelling in 98/99! I was in a bind as I had got bored of p*ss poor beer on sale inside the ground and I wasn’t flush with funds after this point. As it was I saved a bit of money as I didn’t even bother to try and get tickets for the fourth day as I knew the game wasn’t going to last that long. Therefore I was able, before I left Perth, to go to the post match Barmy Army do that they put on for charity. To be honest I felt that I no longer had that much in common with them. They had a bit of a seen the film, bough the book and t-shirt feel about them as they did their own sort of package tour.

    Although I wasn’t in Australia for more than 2 weeks and that the Perth test was a nigh on inevitable let down in cricket terms, I did enjoy my time around as I caught up with some people that I never imagined that I would. I’ve never felt any great inclination to visit Australia since. Not because I have anything against the place but the amount of time it took me to organise my trip there that time really made me think twice of what I’d want to do should I ever for some reason want to travel so far afield. I guess I could go for a while if I ever got made redundant and had spare cash, or when I retire (if I last that long!) but to be honest I’m not sure I’d make a special effort to watch the cricket.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SimonH December 11, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    “Mitchell Johnson bowled what I would consider was a flukey spell, when for no apparent reason he swung a couple and he got wickets. Ryan Harris bowled brilliantly”.

    You’d know who even without the url giveaway…
    https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/98951/ryan-harris-of-2010-and-2013-the-benchmark-for-how-to-bowl-at-waca-mike-selvey

    Flukey old Mitch took his wickets at 22 in Perth as opposed to the benchmark’s 19.

    Good to see that warm-up match he played in in 1976/77 getting another run out as his claim to expertise. I seem to remember it being the subject of a whole article once (including copious moaning about Australian umpires and dropped catches).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 11, 2017 / 8:48 pm

      He’s the very definition of a whinging Pom. Must have been insufferable to share a dressing room with.

      Like

      • SimonH December 11, 2017 / 11:01 pm

        Nasser Hussain doesn’t do that in his eulogy to the 150th cap.

        Just about every other trope we’ve come to know and, er, love is in there though. Including the farm.

        Like

        • nonoxcol December 12, 2017 / 9:48 am

          Nasser’s clichés come with the “ESPNCricinfo staff” seal of approval, of course:

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 12, 2017 / 1:37 pm

            Not sure that you are right on this one, but Matt Prior’s has an interesting snippet.

            He was patched up for the first four Tests of the summer – two against Sri Lanka and two against India – but his long-standing Achilles problems severely hampered his wicketkeeping and a subsequent operation revealed such damage that it was amazing he had even taken the field. The last thing he needed was for his commitment to the cause to be demeaned so savagely at the end of the season in Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography.

            Not sure that was what KP was having a go about. Also, nice spin about playing when patently incapable of doing so.

            Like

    • nonoxcol December 11, 2017 / 11:17 pm

      He really is an inexhaustible supply of material, isn’t he? I’m almost in awe of the sheer consistency of his output.

      Like

  3. LordCanisLupus December 11, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    Shiny Toy being a weapon…

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/21740117/england-players-behaving-students-vaughan

    First of all, well done to the Cricinfo photograph selection panel. Nicely done!

    Some lowlights..

    “I think it’s got to the stage that every single England cricketer needs to be sat in a room and told if you bring any bad PR on the team – and by the way, the surveillance will be on you – you just get sent home.”

    Words fail me.

    “The cultural side of what cricket is, in terms of the alcohol, I do think needs to change. The way they drink these days is different. They’ve gone into the world of what students do with big trays of shots.

    Those youngsters, not drinking Greene King IPA.

    “The perception of this England side is that they drink and party too much,” Vaughan said. “There’s only one way to deal with it: don’t do it.

    If it’s only a perception then it isn’t happening, so they don’t do it. There’s also only one way to deal with ex-England captains talking bollox: don’t do it.”

    We get the press, media and pundits we deserve, I guess.

    Like

    • pktroll (@pktroll) December 11, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      I think there should be severe sanctions for whomsoever drinks that washing up liquid from Suffok but never mind.

      Like

    • dannycricket December 11, 2017 / 10:19 pm

      Speak for yourself, I know that I deserve much better than Vaughan and Swann.

      Like

  4. Silk December 11, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Trust.

    Not sure what the hell it has to do with cricket. But anyhow.

    TRUST.

    Like

    • BoredInAustria December 12, 2017 / 6:05 am

      From the Guardian:

      England players have let down Joe Root and must rebuild TRUST, says Bairstow

      Jonny Bairstow accepts England’s players have let down their captain, Joe Root, and must rebuild public TRUST by delivering on the field during the remainder of the Ashes series….

      ….“We need to rebuild the TRUST we had built over the last few years as a team,” said Bairstow as the team’s representative at an event for Yorkshire Tea on Monday, the type of sponsors the England and Wales Cricket Board fears could be put off by such a sequence of events….

      …TRUST between the players, the ECB hierarchy and the security staff may also need rebuilding over the coming weeks, not least since it was the latter who flagged up the Duckett incident to the team management, who then decided to release the news pro-actively…

      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/11/england-players-let-joe-root-down-jonny-bairstow

      It does seem that the concern is now towards sponsors, maybe KP hit a raw nerve. This is also the thrust of the Vaughan article – “bad PR”, “perception”.

      And again someone’s career is all but terminated as scape goat. And despite all the “senior players” and notably the England vice captain being involved. Makes this sound interesting:

      “Root and Trevor Bayliss, the England head coach, expressly told the players to behave before the Thursday night in Perth that resulted in Ben Duckett’s suspension from Lions duty for tipping a drink over Jimmy Anderson – and suggestions he was not alone in the caper…..Those above them are in turn staggered that certain individuals seem unable to grasp the significance of representing their country, not least given that the brief relaxation of the midnight cut-off resulted in another incident.”

      Happy little dressing room.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus December 12, 2017 / 8:48 am

        Being able to perform consistently enough not to get dropped over a period of time is special,” he said.

        This made me laugh. As if those two years never happened.

        From the Cricketer piece on Cook.

        Like

  5. Neil December 11, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    I’ve got some if I may…

    2006 was my first trip to Australia , staying in Perth visiting friends I’d arrived on day 2 of Adelaide, the first action I remember was Ashley Giles dropping Ricky Ponting early on day 3. Nothing went right after that.
    I actually didn’t have tickets for the test (there was a mix up and my Aussie friends didn’t come through) however some more we released on the Monday before the test and I got day 3 tickets. Perfect I thought.
    We had a couple of nights booked at a big hotel in Scarborough (the rendezvous) where it turns out the Aussie team were staying although I never saw them and so spent the first day relaxing and listening on the radio whilst Monty did his stuff. That evening we went to a fantastic legends dinner in Perth hosted by Aggers , with guests including Hogg, Hughes and big Gus fraser. Only time I’ve met Aggers but was very impressed with him, a gentle giant. I managed to get some tickets for the Sunday from someone who couldn’t attend. With day 1 going so well I was chuffed to bits.
    As mentioned Friday wasn’t so good so it was with some caution we set off on Saturday, my first test abroad and so I just wanted to soak everything up, setting off early enjoying the atmosphere and the barmy army. The walk to the WACA is beautiful going through the gardens but it was already striking how hot it was, hotter than any day in the previous 2 weeks.
    And so it began , the baffling decision to bowl KP started it and we just weren’t at the races all day, runs flowed , the Aussie next to me kept sinking his beer and my skin bubbled.
    I’d given the test up by the time Gilly game to the crease and actually (sort of) enjoy his spectacular innings , it was a privelage to be there. We stayed till the end but I was beat and unfortunately didn’t have the luxury hotel to get back to. I decided to not go on the Sunday. Didn’t want to see us skittled and I’d really had enough sun.

    I’ve been back to Perth a couple of times since and been to the WACA on both occasions (for a shield and BBL game) and I’ll miss the WACA , for work reasons I now can’t go during December so whilst in this job I won’t get to see an ashes test , but then again I’m not sure I want to at the new concrete bowl.

    Like

  6. Adam H December 12, 2017 / 4:56 am

    BBC TMS on Twitter:

    “‘I’ve no idea’
    Alastair Cook when asked if this Ashes will be his last Test series.”

    Seems like Cook’s retirement rumors were quite valid. He seems done.

    Like

  7. veturisarma December 12, 2017 / 6:50 am

    Alright, I have a question here. Does anyone think the Off-Field issues are impacting the on-field performance in any way?

    Like

    • Silk December 12, 2017 / 7:28 am

      Yes, if you mean coaching, selection, county schedule etc.

      Yes, obviously, Stokes.

      The rest is irrelevant.

      Like

    • dannycricket December 12, 2017 / 7:38 am

      Not the drinking, but the ECB’s reaction to it certainly.

      Right now, all of England’s players are under pressure 24 hours a day as they know even the smallest perceived incident will be seen as a “distraction” and could risk their career. Because their management aren’t being consistent with what they considered acceptable from past tours, or even just this one, no one knows where they stand.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 12, 2017 / 8:39 am

        It didn’t apply in 2005 but Ponting’s quote about how to beat England seems somewhat apposite.

        “Win the first test and let the English media do the rest.”

        Like

      • nonoxcol December 12, 2017 / 9:41 am

        St Alastair has had his say:

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/12/alastair-cook-warns-england-cricket-team-smarten-up-third-ashes-test-perth-waca-joe-root

        The former captain knows what it is like to play to an unappreciative audience, having won the Ashes in 2013 only to discover most people were disengaged. “We won an Ashes series 3-0, but the public weren’t happy,” he added.
        “There was a disconnect between the players and the public, and in the last four years we’ve made a massive effort to get that connection back. The last couple of months have damaged that.”

        LOL.

        Like

        • SimonH December 12, 2017 / 10:13 am

          He also said (not quoted in the Guardian but the dutiful Newman must relay every magic word):

          “We can’t afford any more mistakes because we understand the stakeholders, the ECB, sponsors and stuff are trying to encourage kids to play cricket”.

          Basically what Moeen Ali said with the additional Cookisms of “stakeholders” and “stuff”. Do they have a microchip installed or something?

          Liked by 1 person

          • northernlight71 December 12, 2017 / 10:33 am

            ” we understand the stakeholders, the ECB, sponsors and stuff are trying to encourage kids to play cricket”.”

            What a bizarre thing to say. Even for the intellectually limited and vocabulary-poor Cook, that just seems like nonsense. It isn’t even worth picking it apart, it falls to pieces all by itself……

            Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol December 12, 2017 / 10:35 am

            See that “connection”?

            *THAT’S* how you broke it, you brainwashed dolts.

            Like

          • Mark December 12, 2017 / 11:38 am

            And in that one sentence we see what the real priority is. And there was I thinking winning the Ashes was the goal! When in fact, making money is all that is important.

            Were the ECB concerned about encouraging kids to play cricket when they over night removed all cricket from free to air TV? Nope!

            Were the ECB concerned about encouraging kids to play cricket when they jacked up ticket prices? Nope!

            Is it in anyway crass to suggest that their only concern now in encouraging kids to play cricket is they want them as future customers, and not players?

            You always know that when the Powers that be play the…..”Oh my god, think about the poor children” card…..reach for your wallet!

            Liked by 2 people

  8. Miami Dad's Six December 12, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Personally I quite like the idea of the England team getting pissed up, or at least enjoying themselves on these 3 month tours. I’m not saying I want them to be part-time homophobia vigilantes on patrol in student bars, but if they want to take a 12 pack and go for a fish or whatever on their days off, and pour drinks all over each other, then so be it. Part of the ‘unappeal’ of the Flower sides was the strict, diet-programme inspired nerdiness that strangled individualism. Cricket is a team game won by individuals. You need your most talented to be empowered to shine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. SimonH December 12, 2017 / 10:08 am

    I’m finding it hard to believe that these are off-the-cuff remarks and they aren’t endorsed by at least some in officialdom:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/21738634/t10-cricket-ideal-olympics-morgan

    Did golf offer pitch-and-putt or rugby three-and-a-halves to get in? Why bother about playing any cricket at all? How about a gold medal for best sunset at a sporting event? (“And the gold medal goes to Adelaide!… “).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. SimonH December 12, 2017 / 10:31 am

    Booth –

    https://www.wisden.com/stories/opinion/ashes-cricket-home-advantage-lawrence-booth

    There’s a serious point here of course – but now probably isn’t the moment to be making it. There certainly wasn’t much of this after the 3-2 as we got lectures about how every ECB decision over the previous eighteen months was now thoroughly justified.

    How about some positive suggestions of what to do about it? It isn’t as if it’s impossible to come up with ideas (like neutral groundsmen and agreed reciprocal warm-up matches for example).

    I’ve enough remaining belief in Booth not to think he’s running with an agenda of killing off Test cricket here. There are a few others who, if they starting writing things like this, it means the writing really is on the wall.

    Like

    • SimonH December 12, 2017 / 10:44 am

      There’s a link from Booth to a Sangakkara article giving his analysis of the Ashes so far. It’s every bit as good as one might hope it would be.

      Like

  11. Mark December 12, 2017 / 10:43 am

    Without wanting to sound as if I’m sitting on the fence I think it’s too simplistic to say that…
    either

    players can do what they like. (There are those that still believe Stokes should have been on the trip) OR….. tipping beer over Anderson warrants a firing squad. These are two equally extreme positions. Even if Stokes is aquitted could you really imagine him playing while under the threat at any moment he could be wisked back to the UK to stand trial for a crime that carries a custodial sentence?

    Minor high jinks like Ducketts are “nothing issues” but in the context of Stokes off the field antics, and poor performance on the field they suggest a team that is ill disciplined.

    The what ifs of history? If the ECB had thrown the book at Stokes after Manchester instead of begging the media to cover it up maybe Bristol would never have happened. (The media should reflect on their descion to play along)’

    I don’t want to see players careers destroyed for minor infringements, but I do recall that at the height of the KP saga certain sections of the media were trumpeting the NO DICKHEADS RULE. To listen to some of them now DICKHEADS are more than welcome.

    Like

    • Silk December 12, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      Some DICKHEADS are allowed (as they were during KP Genius etc.) and other DICKHEADS will be scapegoated. Make sure you are on the right side of the fence, kids, or there goes your career!

      Like

  12. oreston December 12, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    Jimmy describes the Duckett incident as a “non-event” and says it’s put an “unfair question mark” over the team’s culture. So has he gone off-message? Sadly I don’t think so. “…we are all aware that from now on even a minor incident will be seized upon. There is also a bigger picture. The ECB have their sponsors and we have a job as role models to the next generation of cricketers who play this game so we have to stay away from silly things that can be misconstrued…” (explained the “proud ambassador for BRUT”). He has (of course) never followed any course of action that could be deemed in any way inappropriate, oh no…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2017/12/12/ben-duckett-incident-trivial-questions-team-culture-unfair/

    Like

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